Public Realm scheme makes a splash at Brighton seafront around the BA i360 vertical pier

21st September 2017

This incredible project came about through the Brighton Seafront Strategic Design Initiative the aim of which was to regenerate The West Pier at Brighton seafront through an integrated development plan and strategy.

Brighton & Hove welcomes more than ten million visitors each year. Their iconic seafront is a tourist attraction recognised around the world. In August 2016, the award-winning and highly innovative observation tower or ‘vertical pier’ the British Airways i360 tower designed by Marks Barfield Architects, opened to the public.

This 162 metre viewing tower in Brighton was built by the team who created the London Eye and sits between the new public realm Events Space and the Piazza to the east and west of the stunning new visitor attraction.

Part of the regeneration scheme included the refurbishment of a row of arches dating back to the late 1800s as part of a multi-million-pound programme of essential work to strengthen the seafront road (A259) which they support. The refurbished arches provide new business premises for independent retailers and food outlets.

Client Team

Client: Brighton and Hove City Council; Project Manager and QS: Robinson Low Francis; Concept Landscape Architect: Fiona Atkinson; Detailed Design Landscape Architects: The terra firma Consultancy; Structural Engineers: HOP; Lighting Designers: DO Architecture; Contractors: Edburton Contractors Ltd.

 

The brief

Hardscape played an integral supply role in the regeneration project, working alongside terra firma landscape architects who were involved at detailed design stage of the public realm scheme to:

Create flexible outdoor public spaces

  • To the west of the BAi360 an adaptable outdoor space for entertainment, exhibitions and events with permanent seating.
  • To the East of the BAi360 a large accommodating space dedicated to the heritage of the West Pier. The Piazza to include restored West Pier columns and the West Pier Heritage Centre and a space for the future siting of the West Pier Kiosk once restoration is complete. The Piazza also provides space for visitors to enjoy a seaside view and the spectacle of the British Airways i360.

Restore columns from the West Pier

  • 24 of the original cast-iron columns from the West Pier to stand in a ‘Golden Spiral’ on The Piazza, east of the British Airways i360. The columns to be restored for re-use as part of the new landscaping scheme. The ‘Golden Spiral’ (otherwise known as the Fibonacci spiral after the Italian mathematician) is found in nature and used to achieve balance and harmony in architecture, art and design. A plaque puts Eugenius Birch, designer of the West Pier, at the very heart of the spiral.

Refurbish seafront arches to house six new shops and food outlets

  • To rebuild a row of arches dating back to the late 1800s as part of a multi-million-pound programme of essential work to strengthen the seafront road (A259) which they support. The refurbished arches will provide new business premises for independent retailers and food outlets.

Materials Used

Hardscape were commissioned to supply bespoke artscape Kobra granite benches and Harland Hannover Buff Brindled clay paving to an area in excess of 2,000m2 designed by Fiona Atkinson with assistance by terra firma, with polished patterning relating to the heritage of the area.

The benches include a stepped profile to deter skateboarders from grinding along edges. The colour was chosen to ensure the polished pattern contrasted with the adjacent bush-hammered surfaces.

Conclusions 

Meeting the challenges of winter working, coupled with adjacent arches remaining open for business within a construction site were a real demand for the Client team to overcome.

Hardscape were able to complete construction-issue drawings over the Christmas period and to also meet the challenges of Chinese New Year for the granite benches with an accelerated manufacturing process to maintain momentum of key delivery schedules.

The West Pier Heritage Centre officially opened to the public in August 2017 amidst the large flexible public realm space – the new West Pier Piazza and Golden Spiral, which are illuminated at night, allows visitors to experience and celebrate the vision of the spiral and seafront landscape in wonderful memory of the old pier which was sadly destroyed by fire in 2003.

Hardscape worked closely with terra firma to execute their design brief with a result that speaks for itself providing a wonderful and exhilarating space for all to enjoy.

The public realm scheme celebrates every aspect of the ethos and ‘DNA’ of Hardscape’s team to deliver on time, every time despite the challenges!